• Published 20th Apr 2014
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On The Wings of Wind - Chazonic

When an adopted pegasus stallion with no memories of his early colthood travels to ponyville in search of his place, will he find the friendship he never knew existed? or will his secret be the ruin to his new life?

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Chapter 20 - Manehatten Blitz

WARNING: This chapter contains many links to many different songs. I own none of them, as I am merely using them for 'entertainment' purposes.

" --Ey Zephyr! Wake up!"

"Wah!" I bolted upright before my mind had a chance to catch up, resulting in a minor headache.

Burst gave me a worried look. "You alright? You looked like you were having a nightmare."

I shuddered before nodding. "I'm fine now..."

I had been getting a few nightmares from time to time ever since everything crashed down on me involving my former friends. Usually they were tame, if not similar to the nightmares I had when I first moved to Ponyville.

This one though... it involved the concert. The band had failed and everypony in the crowd, including my own band mates, singled me out for the punishment. I was tortured in front of an entire audience.

The last knife stroke came from Rainbow Dash, her eyes narrowed in a murderous glare.

"Take this you freakish traitor! Nopony wants you around!"

Right before the knife sliced my throat open, the scream echoed in my mind. The same scream that has haunted me from the beginning of my memories.

I shuddered a bit more before climbing out of bed, Getting a worried glance from Electron and Iron though they didn't touch upon it.

Snare and Strings had gone ahead to the concert area to get things set up, with Burst leaving shortly after waking me up. Iron and Electron were still getting ready; Iron was doing what looked like morning stretches while Electron was doing up her mane and tail. Right underneath her horn rested a pair of blue shades.

"Those glasses look familiar..."

She gives me a startled glance before smirking. "You've met Vinyl Scratch then?" I nod. "She's my cousin. I got these from her as a birthday gift a while back. I initially didn't think too much of it, but now they're my favorite pair of shades to wear. She thought I was going into trotstep as well... imagine her surprise."

I give her an amused look before heading into the bathroom. My mane was a rats nest and my bandages were getting a bit loose.

Luckily I brought a roll of bandages and my own mane brush. Wouldn't want to look like I crawled out of a rock slide in front of the audience.

Despite my nightmare, I was only uneasy about the concert. Ponies don't resort to physical torture for others who have failed miserably. I have heard of griffons doing it in the neighboring kingdom.

After sorting myself out, I decided to head out before Iron and Electron. From what I've heard, band members are harder to recognize if they travel individually. Plus I wanted to make sure I didn't run into anypony from next door.

Especially Rainbow Dash. After that dream, I might suffer a mental breakdown if she confronts me.

The clock in the lobby is currently telling 9:15AM. The concert officially starts at 9:30, so I flew to the building where my band was going to meet. The organizers were nice enough to have a message board showing which bands are in which building.

Upon getting to the back of a stage, I was immediately greeted by my mom and Snare.

"Hope you don't get cold hooves there, Zephyr." There's Snare being snarky again. She admitted to not being a morning pony before, so I let it slide.

"It just feels a bit... surreal that I'm here."

Mom shakes her head. "That was my feeling when I first stepped back-stage as a singer. Don't worry, you'll get used to it."

"Speaking of things to get used to..." Burst walked over with a stoic face. "Apparently guests with VIP back-stage access won't be let back here until the first song from each of the bands has been sung. A bit odd."

I grimaced. I forgot I gave out VIP tickets to a certain group of six mares and three fillies before the whole birthday incident.

"By the way Harpsong, Where's the rest of your band?" Strings was tuning his electric guitar for the first song we were going to sing.

She snorts. "They tend to be a bit lazy. They'll show up, don't worry." She turned to look at me. "And don't worry, Zephyr. Just believe in your ability to sing and everything will be fine."

"I hope so, mom... I hope so..."

Harmonecence's first song was quite the leading act for our little building. I was beginning to doubt my capacity to perform properly after such a performance, even if it was my mom's band.

During the song, I learned about the other two bands in this building. One was called Disrupted, who played mostly heavy rock. The other was Linkin Colt who did rock amongst other genres, making me wonder why they got stuck with us in this building when they had such diverse music. Both were popular bands and, judging by all the screaming fans on the other side of the curtain, everypony attending most likely expects a good show.

I was only slightly nervous before, but now my nerves are completely wrecked. The thoughts of messing something up during a song tormented me as I started dancing around, much to my own band's worry. The other singers managed to somewhat reassure me, one of them saying "It's everypony's first time at some point." Heck, one of them got a laugh out of me when he said I should work against my fears and rile up the crowd. I don't even know why I laughed.

Burst gave me a pat on the back. "We're up next, Zephyr. Just remember the lyrics and we should be fine." There was a ten minute reprieve between songs, with a huge lunch break between the first four and the second four.

Snare smiled savagely. "Let's give 'em a show they won't forget!"

Apparently swallowing your fears and going all-out had great rewards, especially if you were feeling metaphorically suicidal about it. I was introduced as the "new singer" and right as the song started, I managed to rile up the crowd. Heck, I even took it one step further and held the mic in my right wing of all things. Saying I was incredibly happy with the result was a massive understatement.

It was also an understatement for my mom too. As soon as I went backstage, she had me in a massive hug crying "I'm so proud of my little colt!" It definitely got a laugh out of all the ponies present.

Snare was pretty ecstatic herself. "I told you we could do it!"

"You didn't sound EXACTLY the way Clear Octave sounded, but it gave the song a bit of much needed freshness." Electron huffed. Apparently she still had some stage anxiety which gave her shortness of breath after the fact. Disrupted had just started their song.

Burst smiled at us. "If we ride this success, we'll be among the best of this concert. Let's keep it up!"

"Hate to burst your guy's bubble, but we still have a long time before our next song." Strings shrugged when all of us gave him a look.

"Buzzkill," I snarked. He shrugged again.

Burst shook his head. "Regardless, there's going to be plenty of VIP's who will want to meet you now, Zephyr."

This made me lock up and Snare facehooved. "Here we go again... feather nuts."

"I-I'm... sure they'll be, um... happy to see me." All I got were a bunch of disbelieving looks.

As Linkin Colt finished up their song, the backstage hooves mentioned that, while we were free to explore the park, VIP's will be let into the back now that the first part of the day is over. I managed to excuse myself and exit the building without anypony else seeing me.

I didn't dare try and go back to the hotel. I might lose track of time and be late to the second song. Plus I didn't want anypony to recognize me on the way there or back.

As I skirted crowds, I was relieved to find a small, secluded section of the park a fair distance from my concert building that nopony else seems to acknowledge. Flying into the tree, I perched myself to observe the crowd from afar. I had a pretty good view of the concert area.

Most of them look... happy. Especially when they're with friends. I suddenly felt a longing for something I knew was long gone.

If only I wasn't so blind...

There were a few things to note. First thing I noticed was Rainbow Dash looking for somepony or something with Scootaloo at her side, though they disappeared quickly. Then I noted a small brawl between what appeared to be fans of two different genres. Manehatten ponies aren't the friendliest of ponies even on a good day.

I did see the other mares from Ponyville even though they all looked like they were casually trotting to a destination. None of it was noteworthy except...

"Hello there, Mr. bird."

... I never saw Fluttershy.

She would be the only other pony to come to a place like this...

I tried staying still so she wouldn't see or hear me, but the branch I was on conveniently decided to break and send me tumbling to the ground, inciting a surprised squeak from the only pony to see it.

"Um... Z-Zephyr?"

I scrambled to my hooves and backed away from her, the look of pure fear plastered on my face. She bore a look of mild concern and confusion, but it didn't fool me...

I can tell... she was frustrated and... angry at me.

She hated me...

"N-No! I--"

"Zephyr, what's wrong? Why are you--"

"NO, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I just... don't look! Don't look at me like that! I don't deserve it!" I flew away in a flurry of feathers, not caring about skirting the crowds this time, before landing in a bush and cowering.

Underneath her kind yet shy exterior, I could tell she resented me.

I couldn't...

I can't...

I stayed there for most of the lunch break until my fear was replaced with self-loathing.

"All I can ever do... is run away."

Sighing, I went back inside to find that all the VIP's have been ushered out for the next part of the concert. Going into the bathroom to get all the twigs out of my mane and tail, I got a good look at myself.

"I need to re-evaluate my life. I can't go on like this."

Oddly, it took slightly longer for all the bands to finish up their second songs. I secretly blamed it on my sense of time being skewed by depression. I didn't show it, thankfully.

Harmonecence had played the complete version of 'My Immortal'. I thought that only the band and I knew who my mom was singing it for, since everypony thought she sang it for her dearly departed husband. When I got looks of sympathy from my band and the others, I knew they knew, which slightly depressed me more.

Then my band stood forward with the song 'Last Goodbye'. I didn't rile up the crowd like I did last time and I put a bit more emotion behind it than intended, but I once again held the mic in my wing and it still worked. The only one who gave me a worried look this time was Iron.

Disrupted went forward with their song titled 'Darkness'. I noticed we were all going for a more depressing song in the second round. The lyrics certainly felt like they applied to me.

"Slowly walk away to breath again... on my own."

Finally, Linkin Colt ended the second part with the slightly more upbeat 'Somewhere I Belong'. In a way, it was a relief that it was more upbeat since it made me feel slightly better, yet once again I felt it pertained to me again.

"Just stuck, hollow and alone, and the fault is my own and the fault is my own."

Why do I feel like everything pertains to me? Now I'm egocentric?

When the VIP's were let backstage again for the last time, I disappeared again. The other bands were pretty understanding about my not wanting to meet VIP's, going so far as to say that I was "shying away from the attention". When I got back, they mentioned that a pegasus mare and her little sister kept asking about me. The filly had looked deeply disappointed and even saddened when they kept telling her they had no idea where I was, with the older sister huffing in extreme annoyance and frustration.

I've got a pretty good guess as to who those two were.

Anyways, all of the equipment was moved to the biggest stage in Times Circle for the final phase of the concert. All the bands were to sing either a new song or a very recent one. Our band was doing the former, though others like Linkin Colt have the latter in mind.

Electron peaked out of the curtains. "Looks like an even bigger crowd than I imagined. Heck, I can even see Princess Luna waiting for the final round."

Burst looked at the rest of us. "We've come this far, gang. We give them our A-game and show them how we do things around here."

Snare snorted and waved her hoof dismissively. "That goes without saying. That little pep talk was pretty lackluster. Final act got you nervous, second-in-command?"

He glares at her. "I've never had a song judged by a PRINCESS before. Of course I'm nervous, though I can't imagine how Zephyr is feeling right now."

"Y-yeah... I just hope that it passes muster..."

Strings looked around. "With so much variety in what genres ponies like, I can see the results being either mixed up or incredibly close together."

Electron sighed. "Let's just try our best. That's all we really can do..."

I nodded with Iron. Probably the hardest part of this phase of the concert is waiting, as we were to be the closing song for the night.

Burst and I connected eyes and we both nodded at each other. During my quick rewriting of the new song, I found out that his dad had passed away a month prior to me joining. As such, he really appreciated the fact that I made the song as homage to both his dad and my grandfather.

I'm sorry, Grandpa... for what I've done.

I kept my feelings in stock, hoping it would make a bigger impact on the song.

As Disrupted finished their new song, I noticed that none of the bands said what the name of the song was, nor were they announced. As such, I could not remember what they were singing as well as I'd like, though the curtains having greater muffling capacity might have a role in it as well.

Burst sighed. "Well... this is it guys. Now we go for broke."

"And now, the final song of the night. Ladies and gentlecolts, Dead by Sunset!"

My band members had already taken positions. I started to come out as the song started. No holding the mic in my wing this time.

As the electronic part of the intro kicked in, I once again brought up my memories of my grandpa...

Feelings of anguish from when he died...from the loss of my friends and my own failure to recognize so.

I put all these emotions into my voice as I began to sing.

No, I just refuse to believe my eyes...

In front of me something I can't recognize...

~You stood beside me all my life.~

The heart machines are ticking

I can hear the life support pumping

The line between life and death doesn't come any clearer than this!

Covered in oxygen mask

These words will be his last

With the energy he's got left, he turns to me and says...

I cannot stand by you...

Till the end of the world like I said I would do...

No I won't be able to...

Help you carry the weight of the world

My time has come

Silent as a butterfly...

I'll be flying beside you

Watching above you...

Silent as a butterfly~

All of a sudden I've lost my strength

Isn't it scary how things can change?

It made an instant just like that

Whenever I had questions

you always had the answers

you taught me about life and the importance of being yourself

To highly value honesty

How not to lose grip of reality

With all your hooves on the ground

I cannot stand by you...

Till the end of the world like I said I would do...

No I won't be able to...

Help you carry the weight of the world

My time has come

Silent as a butterfly...

I'll be flying beside you

Watching above you...

Silent as a butterfly~

You weren't supposed to see me like this and I'm sorry

I would say it's not true but I will see you soon

I cannot stand by you...

Till the end of the world like I said I would do...

No I won't be able to...

Help you carry the weight of the world

My time has come

Silent as a butterfly...

I'll be flying beside you

Watching above you...

Silent as a butterfly~

As the song slowly ended, I noticed some of the front row ponies had tears streaming down their faces. I had to force back a sob and prevent myself from crying as well.

When the song completely ended, the audience burst into cheers as we slowly made our exit.

"Quite the song there. Sounded a lot better than practice." Electron wiped her brow as Burst and I look at each other again.

"It's because we put forth real emotion there." was all Burst said before falling silent again. I nodded in agreement.

Snare looks around at the other bands before looking at the curtain. "All we can do now is wait..."

As all the bands gathered on the rather big stage, there were murmurs among the crowd as to who would be the winner. Standing here now was probably the most nerve-wracking thing thus far when dealing with the concert.

"Her royal highness, Princess Luna, will now announce the contestants places." I stiffened at the caller's voice. The moment of truth.

The princess walked onto the stage with a piece of parchment in her magic grip and named off bands starting from last place. Oddly, Linkin Colt was only in ninth while Disrupted was in fifth.

One of the country bands managed to get third place. While I knew we were in the safety zone long ago when it came to the booby prize, the anticipation of who got first place between us and Harmonecence was making me jitter a bit.

"...And lastly--"


"--In first place is a tie between Dead by Sunset and Harmonecence!" I stood there dumbfounded as most of the Circle burst into cheering and applause.

I also got swept up in a group hug in my band as well, Electron squealing, "we did it! We did it!" and Snare proclaiming, "I told you we didn't need to worry!"

Princess Luna had handed off the mic to the original caller. "Well that was a result nopony expected. Would Harmonecence and Dead by Sunset please wait in the back, we wish to discuss the rewards with you. As for everypony else, hope you had a great time! See you next concert."

"I think I'm dreaming over here." I was still in a daze as both bands were back behind the curtain.

Snare gives me a evil grin. "Want me to see if you are?" It was never good if she had that grin.

"NothanksI'vechangedmymindI'mprettysureI'mwideawake." This got a laugh out of everypony present before Princess Luna and another pony walked backstage. We all bow to her as she stops in front of us."

"Rise. Both bands hast proven themselves to be exceptional, howev'r, the reward is anon problematic as 'twas 'riginally intend'd to be reward'd to only one." I noticed her chewing a bit on her cheek, slightly frustrated. Apparently her old dialog was tough to break.

Burst stepped forward before anypony could say anything. "As honored as we are to tie for first place your highness, we feel that the second place prize would be better suited for us. Our current equipment is still relatively new and we would not benefit enough from it." He chanced a nervous grin before adding, "although... could we get something other than a boat as a reward?"

Luna looked at my mom before nodding. "But of course, we wouldst be more than happy to compensate. Besides, a boat is a bit of a fooleth's prize." She shoots a withering glare at the pony beside her, who cowered from it.

"Are you guys sure? You did work pretty hard for the spot." Mom gave us a worried glance.

Snare waved a hoof nonchalantly. "Nah, I don't feel like picking up new duds until my current ones are thoroughly worn. Uh... no offense, your highness." She got a small nod from the lunar princess.

"Then... perhaps an extra sum of bits instead? I can't really think of anything else at the moment." I guess that's the organizer for the whole event. He looks kind of like a Canterlot noble.

"That will work just fine. Besides, I'm sure all of us need some rest after such a big day." Snare apparently wanted things to get moving. He may not show it, but he gets dead tired like the rest of us.

"Then I'll arrange for the extra bits to be delivered to your respective addresses in a few days. Ah, and before I forget." The organizer gives all of us one golden ticket each.

I'm suddenly reminded of a bad song I heard when I was younger.

"Tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala, as promised. These ones double as a two-way train ticket, just show them to the conductor and you'll be set. I'll see you all tomorrow night." With that he leaves with Princess Luna bidding her own farewells before leaving as well.

"Well everypony... today was hectic as all Tartarus, so we best go back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow." Burst punctuated the statement with a yawn.

"Aw come on, don't be so wimp-wimpy." Snare yawns as well. "Never mind..."

Mom nods to everypony. "Have a good sleep and see you again tomorrow... hopefully."

I give her a hug. "G'night mom. And don't worry, we'll be there."

At least THEY won't be there...

Author's Note:

Ugh, college is kicking me pretty hard right now. Doesn't help that I've recently picked up Team Fortress 2, that game is addicting.

Also, I apologize if this kind of writing is cringe-worthy. I've never been to a concert before, therefore I have no actual idea how they work. Also, This could be considered a bit of a filler chapter if you wish to disregard it.

Once again, all songs used are copyrighted by their original owners. I own nothing.

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